Pac-12: Carson York

Lunch links: Buffs will try two QBs

September, 11, 2012
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"Excuse me, Flo? Flo, like the TV show. Uh, what is the Soup Du Jour?"
"It's the Soup of the Day."
"Mmmmm. That sounds good. I'll have that."
 
Oregon's 45-38 win against Wisconsin in the Rose Bowl did come with a price: A knee injury to offensive guard Carson York.

York has started 36 games in his career, making him the Ducks' most experienced returning offensive lineman. And also probably their best. So it's fair to say getting him healthy again would be a major benefit.

While it's difficult to get official injury information from Oregon, it appears the news is pretty good for York, according to this story from Rob Moseley. York told Moseley he expects to be ready for the Sept. 1 season opener against Arkansas State.
"It's my senior year, I plan on playing every game," York told Moseley. "My goal right after the surgery was that I was going to come back and rehab and I was going to be as strong at the end of the summer as I was last summer. And I've either met or exceeded all my lifts from the end of last summer, which is a pretty hard thing to do coming off a massive knee injury. So now I need to take the next step. You can't replicate football. I'll go out today (at practice) and I'll find out a lot today. I'm confident it will go pretty well."

The takeaway here isn't necessarily that York will be 100 percent by Sept. 1 -- an eight-month recovery from a torn patellar tendon is pretty fast. It's that his rehab appears to be going well, which suggests he should be ready early in the season.
Our topic today: Which team that has a TBA at quarterback is in the best shape?

The choices: Arizona State, Colorado, Oregon, Stanford and UCLA. (We're leaving Washington State out because Jeff Tuel is a heavy front-runner, no matter how coy Mike Leach is about things).

Kevin Gemmell: Oregon -- by far -- is in the best shape of the teams yet to name a quarterback. For starters, they have the most exciting player in the conference in De'Anthony Thomas. Regardless of whether Bryan Bennett or Marcus Mariota wins the job, Thomas is going to take a 2-yard swing pass and turn it into a 50-yard touchdown. Probably a few times. He's going to make the new guy look really, really good.

[+] EnlargeChip Kelly
Steve Dykes/Getty ImagesChip Kelly might not know who Oregon's starting QB will be, but he can be sure that he'll have a talented supporting cast on offense.
And it's not like the Ducks have a history of rebuilding projects whenever Chip Kelly needs a new quarterback. How'd Darron Thomas work out? A berth in the national championship game and a Rose Bowl victory. Not bad. Same could be said for obscure JC transfer Jeremiah Masoli, who only led the Ducks to the 2010 Rose Bowl.

The offensive line should be fine protecting him with key returners like Hroniss Grasu, Carson York and Nick Cody. Plus, Oregon rotates offensive linemen so liberally the quarterback is going to have fresh bodies flanking him.

There are plenty of weapons already in place for the starter-to-be. Be it Josh Huff (status pending), tight end Colt Lyerla, who is a star on the rise, and Kenjon Barner to carry the load on the ground.

When you look at the rest of the teams sans starting quarterbacks, there are just too many questions to confidently say it's going to be a smooth transition. UCLA and ASU are starting from scratch with new coaches and new systems. Colorado is probably headed for a long season and Andrew Luck's successor has to replace -- well -- Andrew Luck. Good luck with that (pun, definitely not intended).

Oregon's transition might not be silky-smooth, but it's going to be a lot easier than the other four teams trying to replace a starter. The schedule works to the Ducks' favor with the first four games at home, which should give the new guy plenty of time to get comfortable. They might find themselves in a shootout at Washington State in the fifth game, but they don't even need to leave the Pacific Northwest until mid-October.

This offense is plug-and-play and whoever gets the job is going to be just fine.

Ted Miller: Sometimes you're screwed on a Take 2 when you go second. Kevin states a strong case. Does anyone really believe the Ducks' quarterback will be a liability this year? The answer is no.

Of course, that level of certainty could be burden, as could taking over the starting job for a top-five team. No team in the nation with uncertainty at QB this spring will be ranked higher in the preseason. Know what a disappointing regular season now looks like in Eugene? 10-2. In other words, this Ducks QB job brings a lot of pressure and high expectations. Being "pretty good for a first-year starter" will rate a fail with many fans.

None of that will be the case at UCLA. Bruins fans are starved for quarterback play that is just north of mediocre. The good news is that they will get at least that this fall. And they may be pleasantly surprised.

Start with this: Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone. He transformed Brock Osweiler from a basketball player playing football to a second-round NFL draft pick. Mazzone is a charismatic guy -- though a follically challenged one -- who knows how to teach. He's been called a QB guru. Guys like Tim Tebow, Philip Rivers and Christian Ponder seek him out.

[+] EnlargeNoel Mazzone
Chris Williams/Icon SMISophomore QB Ricky Town received an offer from UCLA and offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone.
Then there are the three guys competing. You have the quarterback of the future in redshirt freshman Brett Hundley, and you have two seniors who have seen just about everything in Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut. Hundley has tons of potential. He's an athletic guy who's pass-first. Sort of like Osweiler, only 4 inches shorter.

Prince and Brehaut have been maligned by Bruins fans, and not entirely without justification. Both have produced strong games. And both have played poorly. Inconsistency is not a good thing for a quarterback. But both have nothing to lose in their final year of college football. If both are healthy, they can be solid QBs. They certainly are better suited for Mazzone's spread than the pistol they've been running the past two years.

The talent around them isn't bad. There's a good stable of running backs with Johnathan Franklin, Malcolm Jones and the rising Steven Manfro. TE/WR Joseph Fauria is going to be a high NFL draft pick next spring. The offensive line has a chance to be, well, OK.

Mazzone has options here, too. He can hand the job to Hundley, knowing he's got two experienced guys who can play if he needs them. Or he can start one of his veterans and bring Hundley in for special packages, perhaps steadily increasing his reps as the season goes on. (Mazzone, like most coaches, has always said he prefers just one guy, so know that second scenario is mostly me throwing a speculative thought into the air).

Further, whoever wins the job won't be operating under the microscope like the Oregon starter will. Expectations for the Bruins aren't high. If the QB is just solid -- say, ranking sixth or seventh in the conference in passing efficiency -- then he will be widely viewed as succeeding. And if he can get seven or eight wins, Bruins fans will extend new coach Jim Mora's honeymoon a season.

Video: Oregon's Carson York

December, 30, 2011
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Oregon offensive lineman Carson York talks about the heroic acts of offensive tackle Mark Asper and the Ducks running game.

Luck, York named Academic All-Americans

December, 8, 2011
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Stanford QB Andrew Luck earned first-team Academic All-American honors Thursday, while Oregon offensive guard Carson York was named to the second team.

Here's the release from the Pac-12:
STANFORD junior quarterback Andrew Luck leads the Capital One Academic All-America Division I football team, as chosen by the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) and announced Thursday. Luck was honored as the Academic All-America Team Member of the Year and named to the first team. OREGON junior offensive lineman Carson York was named to the second team.

Luck, an architectural design major with a 3.48 GPA, was named the Walter Camp Football Foundation Player of the Year and received the Johnny Unitas Golden Arm Award as the top quarterback in college football. The two-time Pac-12 Offensive Player of the Year and Heisman Trophy finalist, Luck has thrown for 3,170 yards and 35 touchdowns this season. He was named to the American Football Coaches Association (AFCA) All-America team on Monday.

York, who carries a 3.75 GPA in advertising, has started all 13 games at left guard for the Ducks this season. The Oregon offensive line has blocked for the nation’s third-ranked scoring offense and fifth-ranked rushing attack. York is a three-time selection to the Pac-12 All-Academic first team.

Lunch links: Cougs center out for SD State

September, 16, 2011
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Happy Friday.
No Pac-12 offensive line is going to scare you heading into 2011. Even Arizona State, which welcomes back its entire 2010 depth chart, doesn't look like a dominant unit.

So there is no Washington in 2000, California in 2004, USC in 2005 or Stanford in 2010. Just about every team has at least some concerns up front.

So how to things stack up? Read on.

Great shape

[+] EnlargeArizona State's Garth Gerhart
Jeff Hanisch/US PRESSWIREArizona State center Garth Gerhart anchors the top returning line in the Pac-12.
Arizona State: 11 of 12 from the 2010 two-deep are back, including center Garth Gerhart and tackle Evan Finkenberg. The Sun Devils line was not dominating in 2010, so this unit is not a sure-thing. But it's reasonable to project a solid unit becoming a very good one in 2011.

Good shape

Colorado: Sure, tackle Nate Solder is gone, and center Mike Iltis decided to give up football, but three quality starters are back and several others have experience. Ryan Miller and Ethan Adkins might be the best guard tandem in the Pac-12.

Stanford: The Cardinal lost three starters, but the two coming back are first-team All-Pac-10 guys from 2010 and All-American candidates this fall: tackle Jonathan Martin and guard David DeCastro. The new guys played well this spring. It's possible this line will again be very good, but three new starters is three new starters.

Utah: The Utes welcome back three starters, including both tackles, from a line that was solid in 2010. Tony Bergstrom and John Cullen will be one of the better tackle combinations in the conference, and Tevita Stevens, who played guard last year, provides experience at center.

California: The Bears were uncharacteristically mediocre last year, but they probably weren't as bad as some think, seeing that they didn't have a passing threat to keep defenses honest after QB Kevin Riley got hurt. Three starters are back -- tackle Mitchell Schwartz was second-team All-Pac-10 last year -- and a number of other players have experience.

Oregon: While the Ducks officially lost three starters, tackle Darrion Weems started enough games in 2010 to count as a returning starter. Tackle Mark Asper and guard Carson York are solid, but there are questions after that. The line struggled this spring -- perhaps the D-line is just good? -- and former walkon Ramsen Golpashin was able to hold onto a starting spot. It's nice when a walk-on does well but it does cast the scholarship players in a questionable light.

Washington: Three starters are back and there's optimism the Huskies struggling line is ready to take a step forward. The run blocking was much better over the second half of the season. Still, none of the three returning starters even earned honorable mention All-Pac-10 honors in 2010.

Oregon State: Four starters are back but that might not be good news considering how mediocre-to-bad the line play was in 2010. Still, the Beavers have, traditionally, found a way to get it done up front. Perhaps 2010 was just a blip.

We'll see

UCLA: If healthy, the Bruins could be solid on the O-line, but that's a big if. The unit struggled during spring practices due to injuries, which exposed a lack of depth. It's uncertain when tackle Jeff Baca will be back from a broken ankle and he may be the Bruins best lineman. Center Kai Maiava and guard/tackle Sean Sheller are expected to be OK in the fall, but will they stay that way?

Washington State: The Cougars welcome back three starters and should be better in 2011 due to young players getting experience last fall. But you have to wait-and-see with a unit that gave up 51 sacks a year ago.

USC: The Trojans lost three starters from a line that mostly underachieved in 2010. They have two good starters back -- tackle Matt Kalil and guard Khaled Holmes -- but things are wide-open after that. And the struggles this spring, due in large part to injuries, revealed a worrisome lack of depth.

Arizona: There was plenty of optimism in Tucson that the Wildcats will be fine on the O-line, that losing five starters from a unit that underachieved isn't that big of a deal. But replacing five starters means a team has no idea what things will look like when the lights come on for real. So we'll see.

Who's got experienced hogs?

June, 7, 2011
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It all starts up front, coaches will tell you.

So perhaps offensive line experience is a better way to evaluate a team than just looking at returning skill players who grab the headlines. The Wall Street Journal said as much before the 2009 season.

Of course, there's no perfect formula, and more than a few folks have noted it's as much about quality as quantity when evaluating a line. It's notable that the the WSJ touted Texas before the 2009 season due to 91 starts coming back on its O-line. The Longhorns went on to play for the national title. Only the team they lost to, Alabama, was supposed to be in trouble due to just 50 career starts.

And Oregon fans might note that a certain Rose Bowl team did OK even though it had just 20 career starts on its line.

Phil Steele has compiled a complete list of the numbers of career starters for every FBS team's offensive line. Here's how the Pac-12 stacks up (number to the left is national ranking).

Number of returning starts on the offensive line

No. 17 Colorado, 97
No. 22 Oregon State, 91
No. 30 California, 85
No. 32 Arizona State, 84
No. 37 UCLA, 80
No. 53 Washington State, 71
No. 62 Washington, 65
No. 65 Utah, 63
No. 83 Oregon, 56
No. 89 Stanford, 50
No. 111 USC, 27
No. 120 Arizona, 1

What to make of these numbers, other than you see why USC and Arizona both have big questions on their lines?

Well, I'd probably take what Stanford has coming back on its line -- first-team All-Pac-10 linemen Jonathan Martin and David DeCastro -- over what Oregon State, California, UCLA, Washington State and Washington welcome back. Pretty sure their coaches would, too.

Still, this is firm grounds upon which to project better line play this fall from Oregon State, California and Arizona State.

You also may see a repeat of 2009 for the Ducks. Sure, they lack experience up front. But Mark Asper, Carson York and Darrion Weems are a pretty solid returning core, not to mention that Steve Greatwood is one of the best line coaches on the West Coast.

And Colorado's experience up front -- though losing tackle Nate Solder can't be just written off -- combined with a very good running back in Rodney Stewart, might give some pause before relegating the Buffaloes to also-ran status this fall.

Exiting the spring: Oregon

April, 28, 2011
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Oregon concludes spring practices with its spring game on Saturday. Here's a brief primer.

Spring game: 4 p.m. ET at Autzen Stadium. The game will be televised on ESPN2. Here’s the link to the Oregon spring game on ESPN3.com.

Questions answered: The Ducks lost five starters from the defensive front seven, but this one may be more a reload rather than rebuild. This is due in large part to the experience of the so-called new guys, most of whom saw significant action last fall. Ends Dion Jordan and Brandon Hanna -- returning starter Terrell Turner sat out with a leg injury -- and tackles Ricky Heimuli, Taylor Hart and Wade Keliikipi all played well. At linebacker, Kiko Alonso takes over in the middle for Casey Matthews, while Michael Clay, Josh Kaddu and Boseko Lokomobo capably man the outside spots. More depth is provided by Dewitt Stuckey and Derrick Malone.

Questions unanswered: The defense was mostly in control this spring, and a lot of that was due to three new starters on the offensive line. Things aren't settled there other than tackles Mark Asper and Darion Weems and guard Carson York. Further, the Ducks are replacing their top two receivers, Jeff Maehl and D.J. Davis, and that may be a spot the requires help from a touted crew of incoming freshmen.

Spring stars: Jordan was an intriguing prospect when he switched to defensive end last season. Now he's starting to look like a player. Alonso missed last season due to suspension -- he also was injured -- but he's brought a physical presence to the middle of the defense. Running back Lache Seastrunk has played well enough to earn touches at a deep position. Spring always provides good walk-on stories, and the Ducks have theirs in Ramsen Golpashin, a fifth-year senior who's in the mix at offensive guard. Now some of you less sentimental sorts might not be thrilled with what a senior walk-on winning the job says, but let's see the glass as half-full.

2010 All-Underclass Pac-10 team

January, 26, 2011
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After doing an Senior All-Pac-10 team Tuesday, it seemed reasonable to follow that up with an Underclass All-Pac-10 team.

All of the players here are redshirt sophomores or younger. They will have at least two years of eligibility left next year, though many are likely headed to the NFL draft after next season.

Lots of tough choices here -- particularly on defense -- and this feels like a high-quality group.

Here we go.

Offense


QB Andrew Luck, RSo., Stanford
RB LaMichael James, RSo., Oregon
RB Chris Polk, RSo., Washington
WR Marquess Wilson, TFr., Washington State
WR Robert Woods, TFr., USC
TE Zach Ertz, RFr., Stanford
OL Jonathan Martin, RSo., Stanford
OL David DeCastro, RSo., Stanford
OL Khaled Holmes, RSo., USC
OL Matt Kalil, RSo., USC
OL Carson York, RSo., Oregon

Defense


DL Junior Onyeali, TFr., Arizona State
DL Justin Washington, TFr., Arizona
DL Hau'oli Jamora, TFr., Washington
DL Travis Long, TSo, Washington State
LB Vontaze Burfict, TSo., Arizona State
LB Chase Thomas, RSo., Stanford
LB Shane Skov, TSo., Stanford
CB Cliff Harris, TSo., Oregon
CB Desmond Trufant, TSo., Washington
S T.J. McDonald, TSo., USC
S John Boyett, RSo., Oregon

Specialists


P Jeff Locke, RSo., UCLA
K Rob Beard, RSo., Oregon
PR/KR Cliff Harris, TSo., Oregon

Nerds! Pac-10 releases All-Academic team

November, 16, 2010
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Oregon running back LaMichael James is not only the Pac-10's leading Heisman Trophy candidate, he's pretty darn smart, too.

James earned a first-team spot on Pac-10 All-Academic Football Team. Stanford QB Andrew Luck, the conference's No. 2 Heisman candidate, is on the second-team.

Also on the team Stanford fullback/linebacker Owen Marecic and California linebacker Mike Mohamed, who previously were named National Football Foundation Scholar-Athlete Award winners and are among the finalists for the William V. Campbell Trophy, known as the academic Heisman.

Mohamed earned his third consecutive first-team academic honor. Also on the first-team for the third time are offensive lineman Micah Hannam and safety Chima Nwachukwu -- both of Washington State -- and Oregon State linebacker Cameron Collins.

Washington State led the Pac-10 with seven first-team members. Stanford had four, Oregon and Arizona three, Arizona State, Oregon State and UCLA two and Washington and California one. USC didn't have any.

Stanford had seven players on the second-team. Cal and Oregon State had four, Oregon three, Washington and Arizona two, UCLA, USC and Washington State one. Arizona State didn't have any players on the second-team.

To be eligible for selection to the academic team, a student-athlete must have a minimum 3.0 overall grade-point average and be either a starter or significant substitute.

You can read the full release from the Pac-10 and see the second-team here.

FIRST TEAM

Pos. Name, School Yr. GPA Major

Offense

QB Steven Threet, Arizona State Jr. 3.82 General Studies

RB LaMichael James, Oregon So. 3.01 Sociology

RB Owen Marecic, Stanford Sr. 3.47 Human Biology

WR Jared Karstetter, Washington State Jr. 3.55 Zoology

WR Ryan Whalen, Stanford Sr. 3.53 Science, Technology and Society

TE David Paulson, Oregon (2) Jr. 3.66 Business Administration

OL Chase Beeler, Stanford (2) Sr. 3.68 History

OL Micah Hannam, Washington State (3) Sr. 3.58 Civil Engineering

OL Brendan Lopez, Washington Jr. 3.68 Microbiology

OL Chris Prummer, Washington State (2) Sr. 3.90 Zoology

OL Carson York, Oregon (2) So. 3.70 Journalism-Advertising

DEFENSE

DL Dean DeLeone, Arizona State Sr. 3.41 Communication

DL Kevin Frahm, Oregon State (2) Jr. 3.25 Political Science

DL Kevin Kooyman, Washington State (2) Sr. 3.18 Management & Operations

DL Casey Hamlett, Washington State Sr. 3.77 Management & Operations

LB Cameron Collins, Oregon State (3) Jr. 3.48 Finance

LB Mike Mohamed, California (3) Sr. 3.43 Business Administration

LB Jake Fischer, Arizona So. 3.42 Pre-Business

DB Kyle McCartney, Washington State So. 3.87 Entrepreneurship

DB Chima Nwachukwu, Washington State (3) Sr. 3.85 Political Science

DB Taylor Skaufel, Stanford Sr. 3.43 Science, Technology and Society

DB Anthony Wilcox, Arizona Sr. 3.05 Religious Studies

PK John Bonano, Arizona Jr. 3.90 Pre-Physiology

P Jeff Locke, UCLA (2) So. 3.57 Economics

ST Danny Rees, UCLA Sr. 3.51 History

(2) Two-time first-team All-Academic selection

(3) Three-time first-team All-Academic selection

Oregon linemen not just beefcake

November, 11, 2010
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Oregon's offensive linemen are sick of it. They won't be objectified anymore. They want the world to know they are more than just a bunch of big, nameless, sexy guys.

Sure, they made a calendar. And, yes, the photos are hot. Women everywhere swoon at the thought of Ducks offensive linemen.

But they want to be taken seriously as football players. So there was no beefcake calendar this year.

"Believe it or not, we have a pretty big following," center Jordan Holmes said. "They were very disappointed."

Oh, Jordan, we believe it.

[+] EnlargeOregon offensive line
Tom Hauck/Getty ImagesThe Oregon offensive line has helped pave the way for the top-ranked Ducks.
But there is a larger issue here: When folks talk about the high-powered Oregon offense, they start with coach Chip Kelly and tempo and the spread-option, then move on to LaMichael James and Darron Thomas. Someone chirps in about underrated receivers, such as Jeff Maehl. "Underrated!" someone invariably counters. "That's tight end David Paulson's middle name!" Then someone says that's an unusual middle name. And another pipes in that they thought his middle name was "Joshua."

You get the point. They rarely talk about the offensive line. Heck, only dedicated Ducks fans know any of their names: Holmes, tackles Bo Thran and Mark Asper and guards Carson York and C.E. Kaiser. Ask Kelly to name his line's standouts and he doesn't -- and not because Kelly gets a kick out of not telling reporters what they want to hear.

"I don't know if there is [a standout]. I think they're all really good," said Kelly, whose top-ranked Ducks visit California on Saturday. "It's not like we have one dominant offensive lineman and then four other guys. I think we've got five pretty good guys -- actually six, actually seven or eight pretty good guys. ... I don't know if there's a standout. And to be honest, maybe that's a good thing."

Seven different guys have started games. And you can't argue with the results. The Ducks rank fifth in the nation in rushing (305.4 yards per game) and have given up just five sacks, which is tied for ninth in the nation.

So why doesn't Oregon get mentioned when folks talk about dominant offensive lines?

"They do a phenomenal job there of turning players into system-fit guys," USC coach Lane Kiffin said. "I don't think you have first-round picks on their line, guys the NFL is jumping all over. They played really, really fast in the system."

Then Kiffin adds a bit of a zinger: "Obviously, it doesn't help very much for the next level, because there's no carryover in what they do."

Hmm. That's debatable. The Ducks are masters of zone blocking, which is popular in the NFL. And three Ducks linemen -- Geoff Schwartz (seventh round), Max Unger (second round) and Fenuki Tupou (fifth round) -- were picked in the 2007 and 2008 drafts. And all five 2009 starters returned this year, so none were eligible this past spring.

What do Oregon linemen do that's so different? Kelly insists that blocking is blocking, and his line coach, Steve Greatwood, is considered one of the top teachers in the nation.

Still, there is some "new school" at work here (though zone blocking isn't terribly new). The Ducks' line doesn't try to knock you back so much as stretch you out and create spaces for playmakers, such as James. It's not about driving; it's about sticking. There isn't a designated "hole," which sometimes takes some getting used to for young linemen.

"There are so many options -- I don't know what else goes on behind my back," Holmes said. "Sometimes it's frustrating not knowing where the ball's going. But as long as we're moving the ball downfield, we're OK with it."

But the real difference is tempo. The Ducks want to play as fast as possible, and plays can't start until Holmes has a spotted ball and can set the line. Suffice it to say, he gets to know the referee better than any other player on the field.

"There are a lot of officials who like to stand over the ball and wait for their buddy officials to get set up before they'll actually spot the ball," Holmes said. "They'll say, 'Don't snap the ball until I'm out of the box.' But we really never listen to them. As soon as he puts it down, we're trying to snap it."

While zone blocking isn't as aggressive as drive blocking, it's hardly patty-cake. When you watch the Ducks' line work, you see plenty of defenders on the ground. There's plenty of mauling going on, particularly at the second level. And physical play at a fast pace wears a defensive front seven down. Even a layman can sense a defense's will getting broken. Just pay close attention late in the third quarter.

"It's usually in the middle of a drive," Holmes said. "You can read body language. They're having a tough time getting their calls in. They kind of start to snap at each other. When that happens, you know they are not feeling too good. Then it's time to attack."

Yes, Holmes admits he and his linemates get tired. They are big dudes running around, after all. But he also noted they usually score a touchdown before exhaustion sets in, so they can go to the bench and relax with a cup of juice and an orange slice.

Their work has earned notice. While James and Thomas are like Brad Pitt and George Clooney starring in the blockbuster that is the Ducks' offense, the line is like William H. Macy, Forest Whitaker and Harry Dean Stanton, playing supporting roles that earn acclaim from educated eyes.

"I think that line is under-appreciated because of the numbers being run up by the individuals involved -- the quarterback's numbers, LaMichael James' numbers -- everybody's got a place to point their attention," UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said. "But I think that line does a pretty remarkable job in handling everything at the tempo. And as well with as many schemes as they run."

But who should earn, say, All-Pac-10 honors?

"They all stand out," Cal coach Jeff Tedford said. "They are technicians who are able to move in space."

So, please, don't only see the Ducks' linemen as mere zone-blockers playing in a system. Or even as eye candy in alluring poses. See them as technicians. Men who move in space.

But, just FYI: Word is there will be a new Ducks linemen calendar this spring.

Academic excellence

November, 4, 2010
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Nine Pac-10 players are among the 25 selected as Academic All-District 8 members. They are now eligible to become ESPN Academic All-Americans.

You can view all the lists here. (It's worth looking at because it gives you the list of GPAs and majors, which is impressive).

2010 Academic All-District Football Team District 8

Jared Karstetter, WR, Washington State
Chase Beeler, C, Stanford
Micah Hannam, OL, Washington State
Andrew Phillips, OG, Stanford
Carson York, OL, Oregon
Chima Nwachukwu, S, Washington State
Owen Marecic, LB-FB, Stanford
Ernest Owusu, DE, California
Jeff Locke, P, UCLA

A look back at 2007 recruiting

July, 21, 2010
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The 2007 recruiting class members are either seniors or redshirt juniors this fall, so they should be the backbones of most Pac-10 team's starting lineups.

Therefore, it seems like a reasonable moment to look back and review some recruiting hits and misses. (And, yes, we did this last summer with the 2006 class, which you can review here -- Ducks fans should get a kick out of it).

As for the 2007 rankings, USC ranked No. 1 in the nation, according to ESPN.com's Scouts Inc. Oregon, at No. 23, was the only other Pac-10 team in the Scouts Inc., top-25.

Scout.com ranked USC No. 2 in the nation, Oregon ninth, and California 12th. The rest of the Pac-10 went, in order, Washington (29th in nation), UCLA (36th), Arizona State (38), Oregon State (40), Stanford (43), Arizona (49) and Washington State (54).

Here's an overview.

Arizona

Class: 17

ESPNU top 150 players: 2 (DE Apaiata Tuihalamaka, TE Rob Gronkowski)

How many are expected to start in 2010: Four (RB Nic Grigsby, CB Trevin Wade, WR William Wright, K Alex Zendejas)

Misses: Tuihalamaka, QB Bryson Beirne,

Verdict: Obviously, the biggest catch of this class, Gronkowski, is gone. Otherwise, a lot of these guys qualify for the "where are they now?" file.

Arizona State

Class: 24

ESPNU top 150 players: 0.

How many are expected to start in 2010: Five (C Garth Gerhart, WR Kerry Taylor, CB Omar Bolden, DE James Brooks, OG Matt Hustad)

Misses: OL Po'u Palelei, LB Oliver Aaron

Verdict: This is a decent class, particularly when you factor in the contribution of the since-departed JC signees, such as LB Morris Wooten and DE Luis Vasquez. And there are several non-starters who will contribute this year.

California

Class: 27

ESPNU top 150 players: 0

How many are expected to start in 2010: 10 (OT Matt Summers-Gavin, P Bryan Anger, LB D.J. Holt, WR Alex Lagemann, OT Mitchell Schwartz, S Sean Cattouse, S Chris Conte, OG Justin Cheadle, DE Cameron Jordan, RB Shane Vereen).

Misses: QB Brock Mansion, CB D.J. Campbell

Verdict: Obviously, ESPN.com's Scouts Inc., missed with its evaluation of this solid recruiting class, particularly when you consider RB Jahvid Best, WR Nyan Boateng and LB Devin Bishop were significant contributors before their tenures were done. Jordan and Vereen obviously were well underrated. And there were 21 running backs better than Best?

Oregon

Class: 29

ESPNU top 150 players: 1 (DE Kenny Rowe)

How many are expected to start in 2010: 10 (Rowe, WR D.J. Davis, LB Casey Matthews, CB Talmadge Jackson, OG Carson York, TE David Paulson, OG Mark Asper, WR Jeff Maehl, S Eddie Pleasant, DE Terrell Turner).

Misses: DT Myles Wade, S Malachi Lewis

Verdict: When you toss in DE Will Tukuafu, WR Aaron Pflugrad (a starter who transferred to Arizona State) and WR Terence Scott, this is a good, if not great, class. Three or four of these guys should be All-Conference players.

Oregon State

Class: 35

ESPNU top 150 players: 0

How many are expected to start in 2010: Eight (HB Joe Halahuni, S Cameron Collins, WR Darrell Catchings, CB Brandon Hardin, FB Will Darkins, DE Taylor Henry, LB Keith Pankey, WR James Rodgers)

Misses: CB David Ross, RB Reggie Dunn

Verdict: We don't have the time to go back and retrace the maneuvers that are part of managing a 35-man recruiting class (each class can only include a maximum of 25 members, but there are lots of ways to fudge numbers). Obviously, there are the Beavers typical crew of so-called diamonds in the rough -- hello, James Rodgers -- but here's a guess that coach Mike Riley winces over some of these names. Certainly not a lot of production from the six JC guys.

Stanford

Class: 19

ESPNU top 150 players: 0.

How many are expected to start in 2010: Six (P David Green, CB Corey Gatewood, LB/FB Owen Marecic, TE Coby Fleenor, DE Thomas Keiser, DE Matt Masifilo)

Misses: QB L. D. Crow, S Sean Wiser

Verdict: An interesting class considering that six of the eight lowest rated players are on the Cardinal's preseason two-deep depth chart, including three starters. In terms of skill positions -- see the two QBs -- this class doesn't measure up.

UCLA

Class: 11

ESPNU top 150 players: 2 (QB Chris Forcier, RB Raymond Carter)

How many are expected to start in 2010: Five (LB Akeem Ayers, LB Glenn Love, LB Steve Sloan, DT Nate Chandler, OT Mike Harris)

Misses: Forcier, Carter

Verdict: This is a very small but highly productive class collected by former coach Karl Dorrell -- note that it includes DT Brian Price, who bolted early for the NFL. The only busts were the two highest rated players, Forcier and Carter, and JC LB Mike Schmitt. The other eight members are either on the two-deep or, in Price's case, already in the NFL.

USC

Class: 20

ESPNU top 150 players: 10 (RB Joe McKnight, LB Chris Galippo, RB Marc Tyler, S Marshall Jones, DE Everson Griffen, QB Aaron Corp, WR Ronald Johnson, OT Martin Coleman, DT DaJohn Harris, C Kris O'Dowd)

How many are expected to start in 2010: Four (LB Chris Galippo, WR Ronald Johnson, C Kristofer O'Dowd, LB Malcolm Smith)

Misses: S Marshall Jones, OT Martin Coleman

Verdict: Obviously, this class, ranked No. 1 in the nation, was overrated, even when you factor in that McKnight, Griffen and Damian Williams already are in the NFL, and NT Christian Tupou would be a second-year starter if he didn't blow out his knee this spring. Lots of guys who never contributed or left the program.

Washington

Class: 27

ESPNU top 150 players: 0

How many are expected to start in 2010: Eight (WR Devin Aguilar, LB Alvin Logan, LB Cort Dennison, SS Nate Williams, LB Mason Foster, CB Quinton Richardson, DE Kalani Aldrich, K Erik Folk)

Misses: DE Emeka Iweka, DT Nick Wood

Verdict: You read the names of the seven highest-rated players in this class and you have one reaction: Terrible. But then you see six defensive starters among the lower rated guys. Still, the Huskies defense is a huge question mark. How it performs this year will tell you how this class should be rated.

Washington State

Class: 26

ESPNU top 150 players: 0

How many are expected to start in 2010: Five (CB Aire Justin, WR Daniel Blackledge, C Andrew Roxas, OG B.J. Guerra, SS Chima Nwachukwu)

Misses: WR Deon Ford

Verdict: Not much should be expected from Bill Doba's final recruiting class, and this one doesn't deliver much sizzle. A couple of solid hits, though, including a couple of departed JC transfers.

Masoli's status still uncertain

March, 23, 2010
3/23/10
9:54
AM ET
Oregon begins spring practices next Tuesday with more questions than it was supposed to have.

Starting with quarterback. It's now a position of uncertainty: A competition between senior Nate Costa and sophomore Darron Thomas.

As for the guy who was supposed to be a Heisman Trophy candidate at the position, Jeremiah Masoli's status with the team remains uncertain. Coach Chip Kelly said he will meet with Masoli, who was suspended for the 2010 season after being convicted of second-degree burglary, on Monday to figure out what -- if any -- role Masoli will have this spring. Kelly gave Masoli the option to redshirt this season and return in 2011.

Other notes:

  • Eddie Pleasant, a starter at linebacker, will move to safety. Pleasant is one of the fastest defenders, and Oregon is deeper at linebacker than in the secondary.
  • The defensive line also isn't deep, which is why Brandon Hanna and Dion Jordan have moved there from linebacker and receiver, respectively.
  • Three incoming freshmen defensive backs will participate in spring practices: Dior Mathis, Terrance Mitchell and James Scales.
  • As far as injuries, offensive lineman Carson York (shoulder), cornerback Talmadge Jackson (shoulder) and linebacker Josh Kaddu (foot) may see only limited action in practices.
  • Running back LaMichael James, who will be suspended for the season-opener, will practice with the team. Less certain is linebacker Kiko Alonso's status. He's suspended for the 2010 season because of a DUI arrest.

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